Again, no law was broken! Witch hunt!

The great Jane Mayer recently reported on the close cooperation between Fox (former home of Fair and Balanced news [1]) and the Trump administration (MAGA!  MAGA!), starting during the campaign (and even decades earlier, actually).  She makes the case that the popular cable news channel is an indispensable ratings-driven propaganda megaphone for Trump.   It’s a problem for American democracy that Fox (whose business model, constantly stoking the fear and rage of its demographic to maximize ratings — the same engine that drives Trump’s political machine) often casts the decisive vote on Trump’s actual policies.  Fox increasingly plays to its demographic base, which is identical to the president’s base.  She writes:

The White House and Fox interact so seamlessly that it can be hard to determine, during a particular news cycle, which one is following the other’s lead.

Terry Gross’s great recent interview of Jane Mayer is here (along with a link to the New Yorker article, The Making of the Fox News White House).

The report details the many key ways Fox helped presidential candidate Trump and the ongoing symbiosis between the administration and the powerful right wing cable news channel.   She describes the long relationship between Trump and Fox owner Rupert Murdoch, an arrangement that dates back to the NY Post days in the seventies when Donald helped Rupert sell papers while building his own billion dollar brand as a gold-plated rascal on Page Six.  [2]

Mayer’s article includes an account of how Fox News buried a blockbuster, game-changing news story on the eve of the 2016 election.  A young female Fox reporter had months earlier uncovered the Stormy Daniels story, Donald stepping out on Melania to have sex with a porn star, shortly after Melania gave birth of Barron.   One reflexively adds — allegedly — though the $130,000 payment and non-disclosure agreement the adult film star signed suggest that something Trump didn’t want anyone to know about went on.  The Fox reporter’s well-vetted story was stalled by editors for months and finally killed, much to her dismay, eliminating any unwanted October surprises.   The reason the reporter, Diana Falzone, was finally given, days before the election, was that “Rupert wants Donald to win”.   [3]

But I ask you, playing devil and advocate both– what law was violated by Trump’s friend’s news channel not airing the destructive news that the president was unfaithful to his wife and paid hush money to keep it quiet?   What law, you merciless bastards?  Reporting the story would have certainly tipped a very close election (between America’s two most widely hated candidates) and probably cost Trump the election, so why would his friend report it?   Again, what law was broken?

I know, I know, “character”, “morality”, “we don’t expect our presidents to be outright in-your-face scumbags,”  blah blah blah.   Those arguments are the last refuge of losers who have nothing, NOTHING!    As for Fox on-air personality Sean Hannity speaking at Trump’s final rally before the 2018 midterm elections — Hannity is not a news guy, he’s on the Fox entertainment side.  He can entertain any idea he wants, support any cause.   He loves Trump, he’s a free American freely being free.   Again, you merciless pricks, WHAT ACTUAL LAW DID HE VIOLATE?

Yeah, I know you America haters will jump on this bit about soon to be former White House Communications director (and former Fox executive) Bill Shine, about the many pay outs to settle sexual harassment suits at Fox:

Shine wasn’t personally accused of sexual harassment, but several lawsuits named him as complicit in a workplace culture of coverups, payoffs, and victim intimidation.  [4]

Again– what law?   What specific law?   You got NOTHING!

Jane Mayer’s The Dark Side is a brilliant and horrifically detailed exposition of America’s recent “rendition” and “enhanced interrogation,” our secret kidnapping and torture program.   The book was, if I recall, a best-seller.    Her more recent Dark Money, equally compelling, equally best-selling,  is a detailed history of the more than forty year Koch Brother struggle to make their father’s extremist anti-majoritarian vision of democracy the credo of the modern Republican party.   These great books should be part of every discussion of recent American history.  

Of course, there is no law that anybody in America needs to know history, or be fair, or balanced, or even rational.   Show me the fucking law, fuckface!

 

[1] As Jane Mayer quietly points out:    (That motto was retired in 2017.)

[2]  Yeah, of course, another fucking footnote… quoted from the article:

Trump became famous, in no small part, because of Rupert Murdoch. After Murdoch bought the New York Post, in 1976, he was introduced to Trump through a mutual acquaintance, Roy Cohn, the infamous legal fixer, who, as a young man, was Senator Joseph McCarthy’s chief counsel. Cohn saw the potential for tabloid synergy: Trump could attain celebrity in the pages of the Post as a playboy mogul, and Murdoch could sell papers by chronicling Trump’s exploits.

[3] Jane Mayer writes:

When Shine assumed command at Fox, the 2016 campaign was nearing its end, and Trump and Clinton were all but tied. That fall, a FoxNews.com reporter had a story that put the network’s journalistic integrity to the test. Diana Falzone, who often covered the entertainment industry, had obtained proof that Trump had engaged in a sexual relationship in 2006 with a pornographic film actress calling herself Stormy Daniels. Falzone had worked on the story since March, and by October she had confirmed it with Daniels through her manager at the time, Gina Rodriguez, and with Daniels’s former husband, Mike Moz, who described multiple calls from Trump. Falzone had also amassed e-mails between Daniels’s attorney and Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, detailing a proposed cash settlement, accompanied by a nondisclosure agreement. Falzone had even seen the contract.  

[4]   Jane Mayer:

But at least four civil lawsuits against Fox have named Shine as a defendant for enabling workplace harassment. One of these cases, a stockholder lawsuit that Fox settled in 2017, for ninety million dollars, claimed that Ailes had “sexually harassed female employees and contributors with impunity for at least a decade” by surrounding himself “with loyalists”—including Shine. The suit faults Fox for spending fifty-five million dollars to settle such claims out of court.

 

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